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Summer Pale Ale (Cal Ale Yeast)

July 11, 2010

Likely my last brew in Hillsboro before heading back to Wisconsin.

After the very successful pale ale I did previously, I was excited to get this one made.  Since all it needed was a tweak on the hops I felt pretty good about getting an excellent brew.  Also, I had a pint of thick California Ale yeast slurry from my Evil Twin to toss in, so I was looking forward to a good brew.

Prior to brew day, I tweaked the original recipe to bump up the late hop additions to add some flavor and aroma.  Along with that I decided to keep the Amarillo hops out and stick with Cascade since I didn’t have any good flavor hops for a pale ale in the freezer (just having Goldings, Magnum, and Crystal) so I didn’t want to buy two packets.  All in all, I bumped up all the late hop additions to 4 grams of Cascade (up from 2-3 grams previously).  Also, I decided to go with my Magnum hops for bittering, thinking I’d do well to clear some of them out (though in retrospect, I might have done better just to use as much cascade as possible since what I didn’t use will probably get tossed anyway due to the move).  Notably, I didn’t push everything back to late additions (like the Evil Twin) because I have an ominous suspicion that the Evil Twin will be too hoppy.  Plus it will give me a good comparison.

Recipe

BeerSmith Recipe

Brew Day (7/11/2010):

I was surprised to find out brew day, that BeerSmith called for more mash water for this recipe than for my Evil Twin partial mash despite the fact that the Evil Twin had more grains.  Obviously there’s a good reason for this, but I haven’t thought too much about it yet and just went with what BeerSmith told me.  Anyway, this necessitated my use of the 36 qt. cooler again.  Since the grain bill was smaller this time, I think it worked out better.  I didn’t have a bulging grain bag (along with more water) so it was able to lay fully covered in the water without any manipulation by me.  Once again, I hit the 161 F that BeerSmith said I should start with, dumped it into the cooler, added the grains and didn’t bother checking the temperature again.  All in all, I think I took this brew a little more calmly than others.  I would imagine that has to do with the number of brews I’ve done over the last few months, so it will be interesting to see how things go when I get started back up in Wisconsin.

Heading into the brew kettle, I had a gravity of  1.040 compared to the 1.039 that BeerSmith expected, so I was pretty happy.  With that knowledge, I decided to push the brew length out to 80 minutes when my gravity wasn’t at the mid-way point after 30 minutes (instead it took about 40 minutes).  Luckily all I had in the kettle for hops were my bittering hops, so I didn’t have to worry about affecting hop flavor.  Instead I was able to keep them on their intended schedule.

Near the end of the boil, I dropped the immersion chiller in the brew kettle and just cooled directly in there this time (as opposed to the bottling bucket I’ve tried to use the last times).  I’ve given up on trying to leave the break matter behind with my current equipment.  I’ll need to revisit my situation back in Wisconsin to see what I can do about leaving break material behind.  It’s a greater concern of mine now that I’m using Whirlfloc and get a massive amount of break material.  I guess it shouldn’t make much difference if I’m not repitching the yeast, though since the beer doesn’t sit on it for more than two weeks.  The only reason I think it does matter when repitching is that it messes with the yeast concentration in the slurry.

With the wort cool (after just 10 minutes or so – though I didn’t time it), I split it into the 2 1-gallon jugs.  One of them clearly got less break material, so I decided to label the fermentors to see if I notice a difference.  Since I just graded my 60/- which had an even more pronounced difference in clarity between the fermentors (and no perceptible difference in the finished product), I don’t expect to see any difference between the two, but it might be nice to know.

Per Mr. Malty, I split 45 mL of the Evil Twin slurry between the fermentors (assuming the highest proportion of non-yeast material it allows) by putting ~4.5 tsp of slurry in each.

Both fermentors are now comfortably resting in the closet in ~2 gallons of water in plastic 5-gallon buckets (for some measure of temperature stability).

Fermentation

After setting the fermentors in the closet, I left the house for a few hours (~5)  when I returned they were happily bubbling along.  After one day, the rate hadn’t increased too dramatically but the krausen in the first fermentor (with less break material) was very near the airlock.  Too bad I put the s-lock airlock on that one…

Bottling

When bottling, I bottled the dry hopped gallon first to prevent the non-dry hopped gallon from washing it out.  I think I got just slightly over half of the priming sugar into this batch and four bottles (3 22-oz, 1 12-oz).  I didn’t really notice any hop aroma, though there was a faint skunk-like smell.  I sure hope that isn’t a bad sign.  The trub was so thin on the dry hopped gallon that I wasn’t concerned about laying the siphon on the bottom.  I think that worked fine until the end when I tilted the jug a little roughly and disturbed it.  The beer into the bottle was still pretty clear though (though not as clear as the previous pale ale that was crystal clear).  I’m sure a few days in the bottle will take care of that.

The second gallon was much cloudier, though still pretty decent.  I wouldn’t expect to notice any difference in the finished product.  I think the trub was just looser with this gallon since it hadn’t been racked to secondary.  Out of this second gallon I got 6 more bottles (a couple 16-oz, 3 22-oz, and a 12-oz).  The difference in volume was due to the overlap between jugs.  I didn’t figure it was that important to get every last drop out of the first gallon before dumping in the second.

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